One hundred senators will cast votes on Feb. 5 in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, bringing the months-long process to a close.
The impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives started in September and culminated with the impeachment of Trump by the Democrat-controlled House in December. The impeachment trial started last month in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Because a supermajority of 67 votes is required to convict Trump on the articles of impeachment, a conviction, or removal from office, is considered unlikely. Trump, 73, is expected to be acquitted in the vote, which will start at 4 p.m.
Republicans hold the Senate 53-47. No Republicans in the House voted to impeach Trump and four Democrats either voted “present” or voted against at least one article. One of the four, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, later switched to the Republican Party over the impeachment push.
Trump was impeached for abuse of office and obstruction of Congress. Democrats say he acted inappropriately when in July he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” corruption allegations in the country surrounding Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden, 49, sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, from 2014 to 2019. Joe Biden, 77, led U.S. policy in Ukraine for several years. In 2016, Biden said in 2018, he threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid from Ukraine unless the leadership ousted Viktor Shokin, a prosecutor who was probing Burisma.
Shokin was forced to resign and the probe into Burisma was closed. Zelenskys administration re-opened the probe last year.
Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing. Trump has also said he did nothing wrong.
Democrats tried to link a pause that Trump put on congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to the requested investigations but struggled to substantiate a link the two. Ukrainian and American officials, including Zelensky, have said Ukraine wasnt aware of the hold on the aid at the time of the phone call.
Many Republicans have said Trump did nothing wrong. Some moderate Republican senators said that Trump acted wrongly but his actions didnt warrant impeachment.
Trumps actions, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), 62, said on the Senate floor on Feb. 3, were “shameful and wrong.”
But removing the president from office would be “the political death penalty.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), 79, said during an appearance on NBCs “Meet the Press” over the weekend that he would also vote to acquit. He said Trump would think twice after the presidents call with Zelensky was placed in the spotlight.